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Prince Charles heartbreak: Duke issues touching message as he wades into political storm

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The 71-year-old heralded Britain’s diversity as its “greatest strength” in a touching video message to mark Windrush Day where he urged people to listen to each other’s stories and to learn from one another. Paying tribute to the country’s Caribbean community for their contribution to life in the UK, the heir to the throne said: “Today, as we honour the legacy of the Windrush generation and the invaluable contribution of black people in Britain, I dearly hope that we can continue to listen to each other’s stories and to learn from one another.

“The diversity of our society is its greatest strength and gives us so much to celebrate.”

Windrush Day marks 72 years since the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, bringing around 500 people from Jamaica, at the invitation of the British government, to help rebuild the UK in the aftermath of the Second World War.

From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, thousands of men, women and children left the Caribbean for Britain.

The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 after Caribbean nationals granted the right to stay in the UK who had been here for years, were deported or lost access to public services under an immigration clampdown.

More than 160 people were mistakenly detained or removed from the country, and sent back to countries they had left as children decades earlier.

Some were denied access to official documents, healthcare, work, housing benefits and pensions – despite living legally in the UK.

A report into the scandal, published in March, found it was “foreseeable and avoidable”, with victims let down by “systemic operational failings” atthe Home Office.

The scathing report found the department demonstrated “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness” towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation.

Prince Charles’s message comes amid the Black Lives Matter protests that are gathering momentum across the world in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd in the US at the hands of a police officer.

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He said: “Today offers an opportunity to express the debt of gratitude we owe to that first Windrush generation for accepting the invitation to come to Britain and, above all, to recognise the immeasurable difference that they, their children and their grandchildren have made to so many aspectsof our public life, to our culture and to every sector of our economy.”

The prince also highlighted the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the black community and expressed his sympathy to those who had lost loved ones.

He paid tribute to the doctors, nurses and others working on the front line and said people of African and Caribbean descent have been an “indispensable part” of the NHS since its beginning.

Charles, who recovered from coronavirus himself earlier in the outbreak, said: “I know that the black community has been hit particularly hard bythis pernicious virus.

“To those who have lost their loved ones in such heartbreakingcircumstances, when it has been impossible for them to comfort their relatives in hospital, I can only convey my most profound sympathy.

“And to everyone on the front line who has been put under such intense pressure over the last three months and risen heroically to the unprecedented challenge, I want to say, on behalf of all of us, how inordinately proud we are of them and the way they carry out their onerous duties.”

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